Implementing resistance training, plyometric training, or a combination of the two, into a periodized program is an area of interest in the strength and conditioning field. Complex training alternates between heavy and lighter load resistance exercises with similar movement patterns in a single exercise session. This may bring about a state of Post Activation Potentiation (PAP) resulting in increased dynamic power (Pmax) and rate of force development (DRFD). Such a method may be more efficient than either modality used independently for developing sport specific strength and power. PURPOSE: The purpose of this research was to compare the effects of resistance, plyometric, and complex training on countermovement vertical jump (CMVJ) performance measures in recreationally trained college aged males. METHODS: Thirty recreationally trained (non-sednetary but could not presently be collegiate or professional athletes) college aged (21.73 +/- 3.40 yrs) males were trained using 1 of 3 methods; resistance (RT; n = 11; height: 181.52 +/- 3.64 cm; mass: 85.34 +/- 22.14 kg), plyometric (PT; n = 9; height: 182.67 +/- 8.29 cm; mass: 82.63 +/- 10.80 kg), or complex (CT; n = 10; height: 185.17 +/- 5.56 cm; mass: 87.54 +/- 9.04 kg) twice a week for 6 weeks. Participants were tested pre (W1), mid (W5) and post (W9) training to assess CMVJ height (cm; Vertec), peak ground reaction force (pGRF; N; AMTI OR6-6 Force Plate), derived peak power (Watts), derived peak power per kilogram (Watts/kg), and derived peak power per kilogram of fat free mass (Watts/kg FFM), all during the maximal CMVJ. No participant used plyometric or complex training as part of their training regimen prior to beginning RT, PT, or CT. RESULTS: CMVJ height for all 3 training groups showed no significant main effect for time, or group * time interactions (p > .05). There was a main effect for time for pGRF from W1 to W9 (p = .015; 1 - [beta] = .806; ES = .142). For peak power and peak power per kg, there was no significant main effect for time, or group * time interaction for any of the groups. There was a significant main effect for time for all 3 training groups for peak power per kg FFM where all groups increased from W5 to W9 (p = .008, 1 - [beta] = .812, ES = .163). CONCLUSIONS: Though there was not statistical significance in all of the power measures assessed, practical trends in the jump heights could be further differentiated if the training duration were longer. The significant changes in peak power per kg FFM for all 3 groups suggests increased power production of their existing muscle mass in their lower limbs. Practical Applications: RESULTS from the current study suggest complex training mirrors the benefits seen with traditional resistance or plyometric training. Moreover, complex training revealed no decrement CMVJ performance, making it a viable training modality. Further, complex training allows for the incorporation of various modalities into a single work session, offering variable and time efficient training.
(C) 2011 National Strength and Conditioning Association